Chronic Stress & Memory Loss

If you've been having "senior moments" lately, they may not be caused by aging after all. Instead, the culprit could be constant stress. A study done at the State University of New York at Buffalo and published in the journal "Neuron" showed that when your cortisol spikes and then remains high, transmission of the glutamate that signals your prefrontal cortex is disturbed to the point that memory problems can occur.

Lead author Zhen Yan, PhD and colleagues say the findings suggest that the prefrontal cortex "is a more sensitive area in response to repeated stress." According to MedPageToday, the researchers said that the current findings may also help explain why stress responses can act as a trigger for many mental illnesses.

"Since prefrontal cortex dysfunction has been implicated in various stress-related mental disorders, delineating molecular mechanisms by which stress affects [this brain region] should be critical for understanding the role of stress in influencing the disease process," Yan said in a statement.

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